Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

Fighting across Afghanistan as Taliban opens offensive before talks

At least six people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in Kunduz At least six people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in Kunduz
Patty Aguilar | 15 April, 2019, 13:30

In Kabul, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani described the Taliban offensive as an "illegitimate war", reminding the insurgents that Muslim religious leaders across the world had "clearly said that the war in Afghanistan has no religious legitimacy and its continuance has no legitimate judgment".

"On behalf of the United States, I condemn this announcement of a spring offensive, and call on Pakistan, Qatar, and other nations that want peace in Afghanistan to do the same", Mr Khalilzad wrote.

"At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past".

It also pertinent to mention, that the Taliban have launched their spring offensive codenamed Al-Fatah on Friday.

"The continuation of war is no one's interest", the palace said.

Ambassador Khalilzad, who leads the U.S. delegation in these talks, welcomed this concession but strongly condemned the Taliban decision to launch a spring offensive as "reckless".

"Taliban's push to continue war and corruption in Afghanistan is happening at a time that the country's and the world's religious scholars have called Taliban's fight against the people of Afghanistan an "evil", not Jihad", the statement said. "Many Talibs including fighters and some leaders oppose this announcement", he said.

The insurgents effectively control almost half of Afghanistan and have continued to launch daily attacks on security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months.

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"The Taliban made an announcement this morning that they choose violence over peace".

Hours after announcing its annual spring offensive, the Taliban attempted an attack near the district governor's office.

The Taliban blamed Ghani's government and the USA for the violence, accusing them of the indiscriminate killing of civilians in a bombing campaign.

During the attack, which lasted several hours, two members of the security forces lost their lives and another eight were wounded, with two of them in critical condition, Khogyanai said.

The Taliban ambushed a police convoy in western Afghanistan, killing seven security forces, an official said Saturday.

Friday's clashes took place days before the expected resumption of talks between U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taleban officials in Doha.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid responded a day later by condemning Khalilzad's remarks and saying insurgent "spring operations" sought to end US -led foreign "occupation, attain sovereignty and establish an Islamic system" in the country.

The National Security Council said in a statement that the plan, named Khalid Security Plan, is aimed at boosting security across the country particularly the security of urban areas and highways.

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